The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Fidelity and validity

Personality type models often find themselves under some scrutiny.

And that’s a great thing.

Naturally, some of the reaction is also related to finding it uncomfortable to be described in terms one doesn’t recognize in oneself. And it is important to allow oneself to question the description. Just as it may be important to take the time to hear how much of it is true to others.

To make sure the questionnaires used by personality type models serve their purpose the better ones are tested for validity and fidelity.

The difference between both measures is a useful one to remember. It applies regularly.

Fidelity will look for coherence. That is, for example, “is the answer related to the question?” or “does the answer provided remain the same for all?” The desire here is to describe how faithful the questionnaire is to its task.

Validity will look at the way the answer provided fulfills the promise of the questionnaire. That is if we are asking the right question. One that will serve our desire to predict the behavior the question is there to measure.

It is easy to ask questions. It can also be easy to provide an answer.

But asking the question that invites the answer we’ll need to move forward is hard.

It’s not unusual that it only appears when the journey is almost done.

Nor is it unusual that the process becomes uncomfortable and answers become seductive.


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